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Harrington in tie for fourth in Portugal, Power and Lowry finish first rounds in Mexico

Italy’s Nino Bertasio opened up a four-shot lead in Portugal following a stunning round of 61.

Padraig Harrington (file photo).
Padraig Harrington (file photo).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

RYDER CUP CAPTAIN Padraig Harrington is part of a six-strong group in a tie for fourth after the first round of the Portugal Masters on the European Tour.

Italy’s Nino Bertasio opened up a four-shot lead following a stunning round of 61.

Bertasio covered the front nine of Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Vilamoura in 31 and then birdied six of his last seven holes to finish 10 under par in pursuit of his first European Tour title.

Spain’s Adri Arnaus is Bertasio’s nearest challenger following a bogey-free 65 , with Malaysia’s Gavin Green another stroke back on five-under.

Harrington was part of a group on four-under which included Danish twins Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard, who won European Tour events in back-to-back weeks earlier this season.

There were no bogeys on Harrington’s card, he reached the turn on one-under after a birdie on the 5th. Then on the back nine he picked up shots on the par-four 11th, par-four 15th and par-three 16th.

“I played a couple of Champions Tour events in the States, I hit the ball quite well and was lapped by the field,” three-time major winner Harrington, who turned 50 in August, said.

“That gave me a bit of a wake-up call that as much as I’ve strengthened my weaknesses over the last number of years, I’ve definitely weakened my strengths.

“Today was a good day in that sense. I was a lot sharper. I worked a good score out of it, I didn’t hit the ball great but hit my wedges better and gave myself lots of chances.

“It’s an interesting course in that there’s a lot of risk-reward. There’s a lot of intimidating shots, but with the rough being down you’re sometimes better off bailing out a little bit, you can do that here. You need a smart head around this course this week.”

Meanwhile on the PGA Tour, the WWT Championship at Mayakoba first round is taking place in Mexico with both Seamus Power and Shane Lowry in action.

The Irish duo have completed their first rounds with Power hitting 68 to stand on three-under while Lowry carded a 71 in his opening round. American Matthew Wolff is the clubhouse leader on 10-under after he shot 61, with Aaron Wise two shots further back on his own in second place. 

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Power benefited from three birdies on the bounce beteen the 13th and 15th, a run that lifted him to four-under, after he’d reached the turn in one-under. A bogey on the par-four 16th meant the Waterford native had to settle for 68 in his opening round.

Lowry endured a turbulent round, dropping shots on his last three holes to fall down the leaderboard. The 2019 Open champion was three-under on the 16th tee after birdies on his two previous holes but he recorded bogeys on the three par-fours that closed out the round. His front nine had featured two bogeys and three birdies.

Additional reporting by The42

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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